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'No Water Crossing' closes county park

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Taking the advice of Precinct 2 Commissioner Bobby Harris, Bandera County Commissioners approved the temporary closing of the county park at Medina Lake.

During a meeting on Thursday, Sept. 27, Harris told the court that lake water levels are as low as those that had had occurred in 1963 and 1968. "In my 30 years on this lake, this is the lowest water level I've ever seen. There's literally no water in county park, which makes it unsafe to launch boats. One taxpayer even got stuck in the mud at the bottom of the lake."

That incident occurred when a woman had attempted to walk across the exposed muddy lake bottom to reach her son's boat. As she proceeded, water rushed into the sunken areas her feet made in the in the silt. The water created a powerful suction that took the form of quicksand or a sinkhole. Luckily, before the woman sank further into the silt, her son extricated her physically.

According to Harris, park attendance has dropped off considerably, making it difficult to justify the salary of a park ranger. "At this point, the park is not paying for itself and I will not fund it using taxpayers' money," Harris said. "There is no advantage to keeping the park open."

He told commissioners the public boat ramp would remain open, but noted that a "warning sign" would be installed. "If people drive vehicles out there (in the lake bed) to launch their boat and get stuck in the mud, they will be responsible for the towing fees."

Harris said he and park personnel planned some park maintenance during the down time. "I realize by closing the park, we'll probably get a minor flood," he said. "What we're hoping for is about six to 10 feet of water in the lake."

Rain began Friday, Sept. 28, and continued throughout the night, but slacked off the next day. By 1 pm, the skies were blue and threats of further precipitation had ended.

Pictured: Courtesy of WATRnews.com
This graphic shows water levels at the end of August in major lakes across the State of Texas.